Stories

Philipp // Germany

Philipp is an Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange facilitator. He facilitates groups of youth workers, educators, youth and students that are taking part in different Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange activities.

“Every group is different and every facilitation experience is different. Sometimes you have more challenging group dynamics than other times.

As part of the Training to Develop Virtual Exchange Projects, I let educators that want to learn about Virtual Exchange experience online facilitated dialogue first hand. It is very surprising sometimes to see how much teachers and professors need to get used to the online environment and the whole concept of online synchronous dialogue!

Especially when I compare this to facilitating groups of students or youth that are participating in the Interactive Open Online Courses. Even though the experience might be new to them, they are more comfortable using all the technology.”

Before becoming a facilitator, Philipp was a participant in a Virtual Exchange programme.

‘What I liked most was being able to discuss things with people outside of my daily personal bubble. The diversity of people taking part in that programme was very high which I found inspiring. It felt like a nice challenge to share my knowledge and opinions with a whole new audience! I got so involved that I turned into this perfect student; always coming on time to the online sessions, fully prepared and taking part actively.”

Virtual Exchange offers a great experience on many different levels; you build knowledge and learn how this is also dependent on different perspectives and life experiences of people.
As the programmes I facilitate are all in English, you see that people really build confidence and practice their language skills. Participants get less shy and more confident to communicate in their non-native language.
I also see that it is a good opportunity for people to network across borders!”

What Philipp enjoys most about facilitating online dialogue is seeing other people stepping out of their comfort zone and putting themselves in the other ones’ shoes. “As a facilitator you see others broaden their horizon. Being able to create the safe space for people to do this is amazing. And the participants recognize this and actually show gratitude for this. Not to me, but to each other! Being a part of this process is the most rewarding thing.”